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PRESS RELEASE Oct. 26, 2018Contact: Connie Conway(631) 702-1743
For Immediate ReleaseOctober 26, 2018Contact: County Executive Press Office631-853-4000 | Press.Office@suffolkcountyny.gov
$5.3 Million Construction Project Transforms Nearly 80 Year-Old Traffic Circle into Redesigned Modern Roundabout
Completion of Critical Project will Spur Downtown Economic Development
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced the completion of a major traffic improvement project in Riverside that has converted a nearly 80 year-old traffic circle into a modernized roundabout that will reduce traffic congestion, spur economic development, and serve thousands of daily commuters on the East End.
“The completion of this traffic project sends a message to local businesses that we are open for business in our downtowns,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “This is a testament to the hardworking DPW employees that worked relentlessly to get the job done. I also thank Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman for his partnership in this endeavor in order to continue the revitalization of the East End.”
“Suffolk County and its Department of Public Works should be recognized for the success of this important project,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “This is a dream long realized from my work as a Suffolk County Legislator. This new and improved traffic circle will relieve traffic congestion and give Riverside the added boost needed to revitalize the area.”
Suffolk County Officials joined with the Town of Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, Town of Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, Suffolk County Legislators Bridget Fleming, State Officials and community leaders and advocates to celebrate the completion of the new roundabout with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
The $5.3 million County-funded project converted the existing five-legged, one-lane traffic circle into a modern two-lane roundabout to ease congestion and improve commuter safety. The project, which began construction in May of 2017, also included the installation of a new storm sewer system that will mitigate flooding issues and protect water quality by treating and removing pollutants from storm water before it is discharged into the Peconic River.
In August, as part of the Town of Southampton’s Riverside Redevelopment Action Plan (RRAP), which was adopted in 2015, the town broke ground on the first new building construction at the old Howard Johnson’s-Riverboat Restaurant site. The construction of an 8,000 square foot medical office building with two workforce apartments above is expected to be completed by summer 2019 and complements the completion of the Riverside Traffic Circle.
In 2011, Suffolk County DPW commissioned a study of the intersection. After significant analysis was performed, DPW selected the current design that involved reconstructing the existing traffic circle into a modern roundabout. The project consisted of eight separate construction phases in order to maintain traffic throughout the construction process.
The project also involved the alienation of Town of Southampton Parks property, which required home rule legislation to be passed by the New York State Legislature and cooperation from the Town. This also was subject to a public referendum that was approved by local residents. The new roundabout required additional land from the Town of Southampton on the northwest corner of the intersection. The County dedicated a larger, more environmentally sensitive water front property in exchange for the sliver of former park property that is needed for the roadway.
This completion of this project will significantly benefit local business and play a key part in the broader revitalization of the Riverside community. The project supports County Executive Bellone’s Connect Long Island Plan – a regional transportation and development initiative that promotes sustainable long-term economic growth in Suffolk County. The plan calls for development around transit nodes, investment in enhancements to existing transportation infrastructure, and implementation of new rapid transit systems to create a robust transit network that connect regional assets and downtowns.
New York State Senator Ken LaValle said: “I was pleased to work with my colleague Assemblyman Fred Thiele to obtain state approval for legislation enabling the park alienation for the Riverside Traffic Circle. It is gratifying to have state, county, and two town governments successfully work together to achieve the goal of re-configuring of the traffic circle. This improved intersection serves as an important milestone in the redevelopment plans for the area.”
New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele said: “The new Riverside traffic circle is a great example of multiple levels of government working together towards a unified goal. I introduced State legislation that allowed Suffolk County and the Town of Southampton to exchange parkland, permitting the county to use a parcel to improve the function and safety of this busy traffic circle. The completion of the Riverside traffic circle is another strong step towards revitalizing Riverside and neighboring communities.”
Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming said: “I am deeply grateful to the County Executive and my colleagues on the County Legislature, and applaud this multi-million dollar investment in the Flanders/Riverside/Northampton and Riverhead communities. This community-driven project will enhance revitalization efforts that continue to move the area toward becoming an economic hub for the region, and a gateway to the East End, while at the same time protecting and enhancing water quality and the natural resources that drive the local economy. The execution of the plan, and responsiveness to local concerns by the County Department of Public Works has been exemplary.”
Town of Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said: “I want to thank the County for this modernization of an important gateway to Downtown Riverhead. Not only does the new design help to alleviate traffic, it also deals with the issues of flooding that effect the area. I would also like to congratulate the workers who completed this project two months ahead of schedule.”
Ron Fisher, President of the FRNCA said: “This project is a testament to all levels of government and the community coming together to solve a problem. This capital investment in Riverside's infrastructure shows the community that government supports our vision for Riverside, and signals to everyone watching that positive changes are coming. We have a beautiful gateway to the East End that we can all be proud of.”
Sean McLean, Co-CEO at Renaissance Downtowns said: "Renaissance Downtowns and Riverside Rediscovered applaud the County's infrastructural investment in Riverside. The brand new roundabout is a symbol of pride that will propel the economic and pedestrian vibrancy of the community.”